Welcome to this month's newsletter
We bring you updates from parkrun events around the USA, parkrun USA in Runners World, feedback from the field, Livonia parkrun point’s standings, our parkrunner of the month feature and we begin to get tough on barcodes.
No barcode, no time, no exceptions.
In the early days of parkrun, when you crossed the finish line you were given a metal disc with your position on and you took that to someone sitting at a laptop who was able to type in your name, find you on the system and credit you with the correct finish position. Forgetting the fact that we were often sat in a field in the rain and cold with a soaking wet laptop this system worked pretty well, at first.
If you’ve ever asked someone for their name and date of birth 30 seconds after they’ve crossed a parkrun finish line you’ll know that it’s not as simple as most people think. Multiply that by more than one person a second during peak minutes and you can see where mistakes start to creep in. Adding to this problem of course is the rapidly increasing numbers of registered parkrunners as new parkrun events are activated across the USA.
Although some volunteers are happy to spend this additional time, it certainly impacts on their non-parkrun life and creates expectations on all of our event teams which we don’t believe is fair. I should also point out that even the most dedicated volunteers eventually grow weary of the ever increasing admin. In the summer of 2009 the barcode systems was introduced with the aim that this would eradicate mistaken identities and dramatically reduce the amount of time our volunteers had to spend sat in front of a computer screen.
At first bringing a barcode was optional but despite our best attempts at increasing non-barcode queues, and decreasing barcode queues, people still largely failed to bring them. In January 2010, well before parkrun usa I might add, decision to make barcodes compulsory was made. This, amazingly, made some people very angry! All we are asking in return for 50 odd free runs every year (which incidentally you can still have without a barcode), plus the Club t-shirts when you complete a number of runs, plus the soon to be implemented Monthly Prize if you’re fortunate enough to be awarded it, plus all the amazing benefits associated with being part of our wonderful family, is that you print out a small piece of paper and bring it with you on a Saturday morning. I’d also like to suggest that we are probably unique in the World of organized sporting events that if you forget, can’t be bothered, or don’t want to bring a barcode then you are still welcome to take part in pretty much the same way as any other parkrunner. You just won’t get a time. I should also add that whereas you just need to bring a piece of paper, the volunteers have to get up early and stand in a freezing cold park for a couple of hours.
So, if you do forget your barcode, then yes you will have to wait seven more days for your 50, 100 or 250 t-shirt, or come back next week to have a crack at your PB but please take a moment to consider whose responsibility that really is. Should our 20,000+ hardworking volunteers around the world be expected to spend more of their precious time adding you in manually or should you understand that you still got to run with your friends? That’s what parkrun’s really about, right?
I do realize that many of you will be reading this unsure as to the correct parkrun barcode form so here are a few bullet points to keep you on the straight and narrow...
- If you don’t have a barcode you should still cross the finish line and take a position token, but then just hand the token to the person with the scanner. You will appear as an ‘unknown athlete’.
- If you bring your barcode but it won’t scan we can write your number down and add you to the results. Please do not bring that same barcode again as it is unlikely to scan in the future, you’ll need to print out another one for the following week. I advise our teams to confiscate unscannable barcodes.
- Even If you know your athlete ID, that does not count as bringing your barcode.
- Our scanning devices do not scan from mobile phones so please bring hard copies. My advice is to print out all six, laminate them with Sellotape and spread them around your car, running jacket, wallet etc.
- As new usa events are activate, I will email all of our event teams around the USA with updates from the parkrun world and ask each to adhere strictly to the ‘no barcode, no time, no exceptions’ rule so please don’t be offended if your forgetfulness is met with a simple ‘there’s always next week’.
Rick and Lori (email us)
Livonia parkrun will continue to happen because of our volunteers. Every Saturday Livonia parkrun needs volunteers to marshal course direction, scan registrant bar codes and finisher place cards. Our rule of thumb has always been that we ask all our most regular runners to volunteer three times a year. There are roles to suit everyone including children. You’ll get your name in lights and you’ll gain points for the yearly competition!! We’d be delighted to have new volunteers each week! Contact Us to Volunteer
Come and join your parkrun community for coffee, hot chocolate and bagels or muffins at Bigbee Coffee, Livonia, located 33443 West Seven Mile, and west of Farmington Road.
Facebook and Twitter
Runner’s World Magazine presented a feature on parkrun USA recently.
Clermont Waterfront parkrun begins April 27th Starting time is 7am. Website and new registrations will begin April 13th. Watch this newsletter or the Clermont Waterfront parkrun Facebook and website for more information.
Livonia parkrun current standing in the Women's and Men’s annual points’ competition
William PEDERSON (Unattached) 2657 pts.
Greg COYNE (Unattached) 2165 pts.
Spencer GREVE (Unattached) 1793 pts.
Current standing in the Womens's annual points competition:
Jennifer GREVE (Unattached) 2924 pts.
Kim ZAMORA (Unattached) 2633 pts.
Darci MEROLLIS (Unattached) 2123 pts.
Feedback from the field
You would expect parkrun to be just a run in the park, but it's so much more than that, in the UK we are all proud to be part of the parkrun family and it can change lives! If only a US sports goods company or other corporation realized that if they advertise on a bill board 95% of people who see it aren't interested but if they advertise at parkrun 100% are interested, we all need running shoes, shirts etc. Best wishes parkrun US, hope you crack it soon and you can share in the amazing event that we all get out of bed for every Saturday.
I was in the UK for two weeks once, and did the parkrun in Sheffield. It's an amazing program.
Callie Kane · Physical Therapist at Dwight Orthopedic Rehabilitation Company
We love our parkrun in Livonia! Thanks to Rick and his wife Lori for bringing it here to us!
Jim Clinton · St. Augustines Belfast
Having recently been awarded with my 100 t/shirt and jacket I can tell anyone reading this who has not taken part in a parkrun that it will change your life. Someone in America will see the rewards that this brand will bring to their company/organization. The model has worked everywhere that has adopted parkrun so I don't see the need to change it.
Stephen Ferguson - Imperial College London
I've run 50 parkruns, 48 of them in the UK, and twice in Livonia, where Rick and his team made me very welcome (and I even miraculously got a top-10 finish). For those that have never seen a parkrun, it's hard to describe the level of enthusiasm and commitment it generates. As well as the sponsorship issue, the distances involved are also challenging. At the UK events there is lots of cross-fertilization between events, with people from one event splitting off and starting a parkrun closer to home. I'd love to see parkrun US really take off, and I can't wait to show off my new "50" t-shirt in Livonia later this year.
really hope that parkrun thrives in the US. It really is a grassroots movement which fits well with the American ethos of individuals and communities working together to make things better. I'm grateful for the financial support from our corporate sponsors, public authorities, running clubs and individual donors and from the National Trust who allowed us to run on their beautiful Wimpole Estate. It really is a partnership.
om Williams · Works at parkrun UK
Loving your work Rick! All 400,000 of us here at parkrun UK are right behind you!
Tim Oberg, parkrun Australia
I am the Country Manager of parkrun Australia. We launched in April 2011 with the backing of adidas and now have 20 parkrun events every Saturday morning with over 24,000 registered parkrunners. We also have two other major sponsors, Suncorp Bank and Stockland (a property developer). parkrun is the most inspiring organisation I have ever been involved with. It is amazing that something as simple as a free, weekly, timed 5km running event can have such a huge impact on the local community but it truly does. Good luck Rick, we are all cheering you on from Down Under!
Drop us an email if you have an interesting parkrun related fact, happening or comment that you would like to share with all parkrunners.
parkrunner of the month
This week’s parkrunner of the week resides in the city of Livonia with her husband and three sons, Drew, Alex and Adam; all parkrunners. Lori is the calming balance and voice of reason for husband and parkrun usa country manager Rick.
Name: Lori Brauer
Club Embrace Each Step
Home parkrun: Livonia
Occupation: Jewelry artist and mom of 3 boys
Number of runs: I would have to look that up – a handful of times
PB Time Every time I started and finished was my PB. To me, that is what is about. Toeing the start and finishing. Can’t count the run if you don’t get out the door.
Number of times volunteered: Since the beginning, lost count – I am here for our parkrunners. LOVE my parkrunner family
Favourite volunteer role: Cheering for the runners and taking pictures – Now if I could remember to get the pictures uploaded to Flickr and Facebook
What do you like about volunteering at parkrun: I love seeing the change in our runners. There are some that never thought they could run a 5K and now they are.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment 1.) Running with my husband, Rick, and 2.) running one minute and face planting into the snow the next (while running with my husband).
How can we improve parkrun The weather is out of our control.